Ashlee Christian is a Jewitch with a misleading surname — though in hindsight, she should have seen a calling to Interfaith Ministry coming. As a Corporate Chaplain, Ashlee hopes to bring spiritual care and whole-self support into the workplace, as well as help organizations have a trauma-informed approach to HR. Ashlee is endlessly enthusiastic about humans and their capacity for good trouble and social change. Ashlee hopes very much to see an end to rapacious capitalism within her lifetime. If not, she plans to fan the flames of revolution while she’s here. She hopes you will join her.
Gregory ClineOrdinand May 2023
My path to ordination has been a journey of self-discovery. Previously, I worked in the field of employee benefits, but I was drawn to something more profound. I volunteered with civic and social organizations, focusing on providing emotional and physical support to trauma victims. Five years ago, I finally listened deeply and heard the call to live both into my need to serve and my newly discovered spirituality. I enrolled in seminary at The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) and the Starr King School for the Ministry. At ChI, I found a spiritual community that supported and encouraged me in my discernment. In 2021 I left my corporate job to devote my full attention to studying and determining the course of my spiritual journey. I could not have accomplished any of this without the support of Angela, my wife. I am blessed in many ways and can now share my blessings with others.
Charlotte CramerOrdinand May 2023
I have been called to ministry since the age of 16, and my path since then has been strange and wonderful, a mix of terrifying challenges, deep joys, outrageously funny moments and profound sorrow. Ordination is so much of what I have worked for in my life, and yet, here we are, and it is only the beginning. My hope is to serve tenderly, to bring forth brave gentleness; to be fierce, to speak truth in places where disconnect, hatred and injustice reign; and to be wild, be myself, and rewrite what it means to be a spiritual leader in the world today. I am ready— the next adventure awaits. May it be ridiculous, may it be moving, and may I forever be learning and growing, dancing to the rhythm of Spirit, with a big goofy smile on my face.
Steve HerrickOrdinand May 2023
A Rust Belt kid who entered the workforce at the peak of the Great Recession, I spent years working in factories, warehouses, and finally as an insurance claims adjuster before multiple concurrent personal crises during the pandemic forced me to reevaluate my life. The resulting period of soul-searching led me to ChI. My call to the ministry is rooted in a desire to heal relationships and prevent violence. I am currently the third-shift chaplain at Butterworth Medical Center and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am excited to be ordained alongside such a gifted and visionary group of people.
Margaret HoweOrdinand May 2023
My spiritual path has wound from Catholic beginnings into a Buddhism grounded in an earthy, sacred, sensual Feminine. Thankfully, the thread of Spirit has sustained me through a primarily blessed life, as well as my particular challenges: injury and self-doubt seeded by the patriarchal forces of church and culture, movement through different Buddhist traditions, personal loss, and the ongoing wrestle of how to live a moral and sacred life in these times. My consistent calling has been to take compassionate action to ease the distress of our world. The Bodhisattva, who listens and responds to the cries of the world, has been my touchstone throughout years of spiritually based social activism, to now doing chaplain work at hospice and hospitals. My intention in stepping into the role of Interfaith Minister is to strengthen my capacity to radically engage with this one life– suffused with love, joy, the sacred, and transformation.
G Yi (he/they)Ordinand May 2023
Serving as a suicide first responder and Stanford’s Director of Mental Health & Wellness taught g not only calm in holding space for death/darkness but also to divest from violent institutions/carceral systems and center community care+critical connections as a Divine liberatory Art praxis. g dreams of establishing a mental health respite center that instrumentalizes play, Ancestral plant medicine, and multimedia for disabled QTBIPoC survivors. This vision came to them following an NDE that opened portals to past/present/Future lifetimes of spiritual power (misattributed to white Jesus/a call to military chaplaincy once upon a time) and their dissertational research on Indigenous Corean proto-transgenderal shamans and drag as embodied psychospiritual healing—and brought them to ChI to gain tools to facilitate queer healing through religious trauma, pursue entheogenic/psychedelic healing certification, and unfurl the Divine in Me-sus and We-sus. // “I am my Ancestors’ wildest Dreams; I live to be my Dreams’ wildest Ancestor.”
May 2023 Spiritual Directors
Jeannette BessingerSpiritual Director, May 2023
Jeannette Bessinger (she/her), lover of trees and flowers, is an ordained interfaith chaplain and Board Certified Health Coach, bringing a holistic perspective to her 20-year health ministry. As a breast cancer survivor and patient chaplain, she cares deeply about sacred embodiment and cultivating mind/body/spirit resilience. She’s been privileged to work with many different people and organizations over the years, presenting in venues as wide ranging as Head Start, medical conventions, LGBTQ+ centers, and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. With a theological MA in social change and a commitment to counter-oppression, her speaking, writing, and spiritual coaching practice supports the blooming of Spirit everywhere it sprouts. Jeannette is devoted to building and deepening human connection – to ourselves, to others, to the planet, and that which holds it all.
Rachel CoonradtSpiritual Director, May 2023
My own introduction to spiritual direction took me down a road I never expected, one that—nod to Robert Frost—has made all the difference. A safe space to speak out loud the tangle of thoughts in my soul led me down a path I never would have chosen but needed to take, one of deepest sorrow and unexpected joy. That is why I am so grateful to have gone through the certification program at ChI (with the most beautiful cohort). It’s a privilege to be trained to walk alongside others and offer that simple, yet profound space—a sacred space to hold silence and questions and tears and joy; space to sort through the tangles of why we’re here and what it means and how to live with the questions. I’d love to talk about this beautiful practice over a metaphorical cup of coffee.
Jodi PattonSpiritual Director, May 2023
I am deeply grateful to The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) and its talented faculty, for my training in interfaith spiritual direction. I am finding the practice of companioning folks in spiritual direction a rather magical experience in so many wonderful ways. This ministry offers a profound deepening in the sweet relationship I share with Source. The unique interfaith component of ChI provides rich and abundant blessings in opening to and welcoming all people, teachings, and beliefs; the freedom of unity is life-giving. ChI’s spiritual direction program is an extraordinary opportunity, and I feel so much gratitude. In addition to Spiritual Direction, I enjoy leading Hatha yoga classes, Reiki training, and meditation & mindfulness classes and workshops. Columbus, Ohio is home to me and my husband Ken, and little Morkie Luci- Lu.